Here's Why You Should Seriously Consider Dance as a Form of Exercise
Have you ever considered dance as a form of exercise? It sounds like too much fun to be real exercise, but the truth is, you can burn just as many calories as a session in the gym. And the most interesting part? It's not just an effective form of exercise for your body, but for your brain, too. To celebrate International Dance Day (which happens to be today, so dust off your dancing shoes), we sat down with Shannon Holtzapffel, the Australian choreographer responsible for Captain Constentenous, The Tattooed Man in The Greatest Showman.
Holtapffel opened up about his preparation for one of the biggest films of 2017, and why dance is so much more than just exercise for the body. Read on, to find out what form of dance is most effective for weight loss, and what simple moves you can recreate at home.
POPSUGAR Australia: Tell us a bit about your preparation for The Greatest Showman?
Shannon Holtzapffel: I have trained for years and it really was once in a lifetime opportunity. I grew my beard out for the entirety of pre-production and production (seven months) I didn't want a fake beard, but I was eating it every day.
During filming the tattoo preparation was crazy, my face was about two hours in the chair. I had semi-permanent tattoos on my hands and neck, which lasted two weeks, and had to be reapplied for the duration. To save about five hours in the chair they created a two-piece mesh bodysuit with the artwork printed on. All in all, it is safe to say I wasn't the quickest in the make-up chair.
PS: What makes dancing a great form of exercise?
SH: Dancing is anaerobic, which is stop-start and can vary between feeling like a sprint or a marathon. It can also depend on your style of dance — where ballet builds strength within the core, commercial dance (so jazz, and hip-hop), is more about aesthetic purposes.
Dancing alone for me is not enough, but it's not to say it's not a full body workout. It's amazing cardio! Dancing can also be an incredible form of brain training from memory choreography to coordination.
I would say the calorie burn count can be extremely high — something between 600-800 calories depending on the intensity.
PS: What kind of dance is most effective as a form of exercise for weight loss?
SH: I would say jazz and hip-hop. Really energetic and strong. When you're performing you have to think of the people in the back of the stadium, which really requires huge movement so the people at the front are getting the same show as the people at the back.
PS: What are some simple moves we can recreate at home to tone our legs?
SH: Anything that's lunging and squatting actions and also, in ballet something like a 'releve' (where you rise on your toes) whilst squeezing your glutes. It can be a full calf, leg and backside workout!
PS: For those who have never danced before, what is the easiest way to start?
SH: In the club is where you really learn to freestyle and be yourself. Right? There's actually a really cool dance class in the States called 'Groov3' where you learn dance to a live DJ with choreography that's to a set tempo. So, you can jump in and out whenever feels right for you to all the latest jams. I'd say find a studio that lets you work to your own pace to start off.
The Greatest Showman is available soon. Bring home the spectacle on May 2 on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital.